AirMap and the Future of Autonomous Flight

Author: Gareth Keane Senior Investment Manager for Qualcomm Ventures

Given the breakneck momentum in the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) space — which I’ll dig into more in an essay next week — I expect there will be millions of autonomous flying robots in the coming years, creating billions of dollars in economic value by performing tasks ranging from inspection and observation to package delivery.

As this ecosystem continues to evolve, we’ve seen a need for software solutions that provide the essential data and intelligence services to allow for the safe and efficient management of all this aerial robot activity.

It’s a challenging problem to solve. To succeed, a company needs to manage the complexity and timelines of working closely with governments and regulatory agencies like the FAA in the US, while also providing a solution and product that meets the needs of commercial customers.

And that’s why we’re so excited about AirMap, which is positioning its data platform to become the intelligence layer enabling widespread adoption of unmanned aerial vehicles.

Ben Marcus is the CEO, and has been engaged in the emerging UAV industry since its earliest days. Ben’s background as a pilot and his previous success in building a successful company in the aviation/aerospace industry has helped him and his team craft a clear and compelling vision for the company and the industry at large.

The team is building an asset that will be extremely valuable for many stakeholders as the ecosystem evolves. AirMap’s approach to integrating data from proprietary and non-proprietary sources is already generating value for users, and we have seen Ben and the team develop strong partnerships with many of the leading companies and organizations involved in the UAV industry. We also have been impressed with the way the company has built relationships with regulators .We look forward to seeing all of these relationships deepen as AirMap continues to build a unique platform.

Last week, AirMap announced its latest funding round, in which Qualcomm Ventures, the investment arm of Qualcomm Incorporated, was a key investor. We are looking forward to further enabling the UAV ecosystem and supporting the growth of AirMap as the company works to improve the future safety of autonomous flying robotics.

We welcome Ben, Greg and the rest of the AirMap team to the Qualcomm Ventures family, and look forward to helping them build an amazing company.

Gareth is a Senior Investment Manager for Qualcomm Ventures. He joined the team in 2012 and has been heavily involved in Qualcomm Ventures activities in the hardware and connected device ecosystems. He helped define the Qualcomm Ventures investment thesis around UAVs and robotics, and led the Qualcomm Ventures investments in companies like SkyCatch and Spire. Learn more about Gareth: https://www.qualcommventures.com/team/gareth-keane